Diversity training can be viewed with suspicion, but there is a business case for it.
The term ‘reverse discrimination’ essentially means a majority group is discriminated against in favour of a minority group. If a programme assigns blame or makes any group feel guilty, then the training is bad. The purpose of diversity training is to encourage inclusivity and equality among all groups. Encouraging communication, learning to listen and speak with one another, regardless of difference, is more helpful that dividing employees and highlighting their differences.
The Other Side A recent article in The Spectator claimed diversity training is ‘hokum’. Straight, white men are supposedly so afraid of being labelled racist, sexist, or homophobic that they actively favour hiring employees from minority groups. So, is this now a ’level playing field’? The gender pay gap report this year highlights that women are by no means dealing with equal standards in the workplace. The few firms that have published ethnicity pay gap figures show that those of BAME origins are paid less, and occupy fewer senior positions. The National LGBT Survey also shows a considerable amount of discrimination in the workplace. Diverse Hiring Hiring based on gender, ethnicity, or sexuality is a form of bias, but so long as the decision to hire isn’t based on those factors alone, there is no harm in doing so.
If anything, it is beneficial to business, as CEO of Tyche Leadership Consulting, Nikki Watkins explains: “A recent report by McKinsey indicated that the top 25% of companies in terms of gender diversity were 15% more likely to see financial returns than their peers, while for firms excelling in ethnic diversity, the figure was more like 35%.” Diversity training is simply a means to reinforce this and create an atmosphere that all employees can be comfortable in. Talk to an Expert For further advice on diversity hiring, discrimination or any other HR issues, please contact the Business Support Helpline which is included with your BPMA membership.